As he gears up to take over The Late Show the famous former Colbert Report satirist is finally able to be himself

Updated September 07, 2015 02:40 PM
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Stephen Colbert will make his network debut at the new host of CBS’s The Late Show on Tuesday, replacing David Letterman who retired from the show in May after 22 years.

While everyone knows Colbert will be a riot – he’s given us a few funny promo teases already – it’s not clear if everyone actually knows Colbert. His blowhard Colbert Report alter ego made him famous, but now he’s tasked with, well, just being himself.

Below, a few facts we’ve gathered about the real Colbert.

He’s a total family man.
At home in Montclair, New Jersey, “Stephen and his family are very happily entrenched,” a neighborhood source says of Colbert, his wife Evelyn and their three kids Madeleine, Peter and John. “You can always see him with his family. Family and community have always been important to him.”

He suffered major tragedy at a young age.
When Colbert was just 10 years old, he lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash. “I’m not angry, I’m not,” Colbert told GQ. “I learned to love it I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

A devout Catholic, he rarely misses church.
Says the neighborhood source, “Most Sundays the Colberts are at church, usually sitting right up front. When the kids were younger, he taught Confraternity of Christian Doctorine classes there.”

He is active in his community and passionate about the arts.
Colbert and his wife helped launch the Montclair Film Festival, now in its fourth year. “In 2012 he participated in The Little Read, an annual community event,” says the source. “He read his own kids book, I Am a Pole (and So Can You!), and had the kids as rapt and entertained as his Colbert Report audiences.”

He’s a great coworker.
“Stephen’s a joy to work with,” Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless told PEOPLE last year. “He’s a creative genius and a gentleman and a scholar. Every interaction with him has been great.”

He’s all about giving back.
“While his [Colbert Report] alter ego may only care about self serving interests, it’s obvious the real Colbert – the one who will host The Late Show – serves up two heaping scoops of giving back to the community,” says Ben & Jerry’s director of communications Sean Greenwood. When the iconic ice cream company partnered with Colbert for the AmeriCone Dream flavor (which was so popular at one point, it outsold their biggest flavor Cherry Garcia), “Stephen donated all of his proceeds, over $1 million dollars, to address environmental issues, assist veterans and support children’s issues.”

RELATED VIDEO: Stephen Colbert, Julia Roberts Say Goodbye to David Letterman

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

debuts Tuesday at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.